The Hebrew book of Job is by all accounts an exquisite piece of literary art that holds its rightful place among the most outstanding compositions in world literature. Yet it is also widely recognized as an immensely difficult text to understand. This volume opens an eclectic conversation on the various ways Job has been interpreted. This volume covers the first 21 chapters of Job.
In elucidating that ancient text, this inaugural volume in the Illuminations commentary series by C. L. Seow pays close attention to the reception history of Job, including Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Western secular interpretations as expressed in theological, philosophical, and literary writings and in the visual and performing arts. Seow offers a primarily literary-theological interpretation of Job, a new translation, and detailed commentary.
C. L. Seow is distinguished professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt Divinity School. A recognized expert in Old Testament studies and the general editor of the Illuminations series, he is also the author of the Anchor Bible commentary on Ecclesiastes.
The appearance of Leong Seow's marvelous, eclectic commentary on the book of Job is an occasion for celebration. It is the first critical commentary to give proper weight to reception history along with the philological and literary analysis necessary to support judicious interpretation. Seow is a thorough and learned commentator with a keen eye and ear for ambiguity and nuance. In addition, his lucid and elegant writing is a pleasure to read.
Jewish Theological Seminary
As in his masterful commentary on Ecclesiastes, Seow brings to the book of Job a rare combination of historical knowledge, linguistic expertise, patient attention to details, and a sense of existential and theological perspective...The result is a commentary that is bound to become a classic in Job studies.
-J. Gerald Janzen
Christian Theological Seminary
This is easily the most comprehensive commentary available on the book of Job. From detailed textual analysis to artistic and poetic interpretations, Seow provides a rich avenue into one of our most complex biblical books. The breadth of scholarship is matched by the clarity and attractiveness of presentation. This will be a standard work for a long time to come.
-Patrick D. Miller
Princeton Theological Seminary
A lucid, extraordinarily erudite commentary.
-Michael V. Fox
University of Wisconsin-Madison
An outstanding masterpiece of philology, exegesis, and theological interpretation.
University of Zurich
One of the very best commentaries in the last hundred years...Much of Seow's work will not need to be redone.
-Michael D. Coogan
Harvard Divinity School
The Christian Century
"If you seek a sustained encounter with a particularly challenging book of the Bible, youll find Seows work a treasure. . . . For professional scholars, Seow provides a wonderful entry into the massive literature on Job. For pastors and lay readers, he serves up a nourishing banquet of linguistic insight, historical perspective, and thoughtful theological reflection."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"While there are numerous excellent commentaries on Job, this is easily among my favorites -- and the second half is yet to come. . . . The Commentary sections are gold mines of fine points of grammar and syntax, ANE language and literature connections, data from manuscripts and versions, emendations, ancient and modern commentaries, theological and sociological connections, and intertextual readings. . . . In regard to the history of interpretation, Seow is thoroughly conversant with the communities and their literatures across the centuries. . . . I found myself adding a profusion of notes into my Bible because I want to recall them for my own edification as well as that of my students. I cannot think of a better recommendation."
Journal of Hebrew Scriptures
"Provides a valuable addition to books and commentaries on Job that have tended to be more historical-critical in their emphasis. . . . Seows translation with extensive notes and his comprehensive survey of the history of consequences make this commentary a helpful contribution to Joban studies."
Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
"A remarkable achievement. For the serious student of Job, it is indispensable."
Reformed Theological Review
"A truly monumental work. . . . Sets a new standard in Old Testament commentary."
"Seow is arguably the master scholar, researcher, teacher, and interpreter of his generation. In this remarkable book, his singular capacities are fully on exhibit. . . . Mastery of the critical apparatus, attentiveness to rhetorical nuance, theological sensibility, and acuteness concerning the historical spectrum of interpretations. He is able to trace the thickness of interpretation from the oldest translations through the vagaries of the historical process. In the midst of such erudition, his commentary on specific texts is nonetheless cast in an accessible narrative mode. This commentary has a durable quality that will serve us long and well."
"A tour de force . . . in admirably clear and non-technical language . . . a splendid piece of work."
"One word, MASTERPIECE, best describes this book. Readers are in the presence of greatness -- of the biblical text and of the interpreter. What an illustrious beginning for the Illuminations commentaries, and heaven help the author who follows Seow. . . . The emphasis is always on its literary and theological dimensions. . . . Seows insights into the biblical text itself are legion."
Currents in Theology and Mission
"This commentary, when completed in its second volume, will be the best in the field. . . . If you care at all about suffering and/or the
Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
"Even though it seems generally wise to use superlatives with utmost caution in a review, all words that come to mind after reading this volume fall into that category: this masterful work is an extraordinarily rich treasure trove that displays the authors erudition on almost every page. . . . Seow broadens the perspective of his readers to an extent that few have done before him. His work sets a new standard for biblical commentaries, and raises high expectations for any future volume published in the Illuminations series."
Journal of Ancient Judaism
"This commentary is more than impressive and sets a new standard against which all future commentaries on Job will need to be measured."
"In Seows hands, the book of Job achieves a truly unsurpassed fullness of meaning. . . . Seow consistently provides reasonable, well-supported, yet fresh perspectives on the most significant issues facing readers of Job."
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